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Vick happy to be back in Pro Bowl<br> Picked up most votes among NFC players

KAPOLEI, Hawaii -- While every Pro Bowl player endured a long trip to get to Hawaii, the journey for Michael Vick in many ways was the longest.

Less than two years after being released from federal prison, the Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback is making his fourth Pro Bowl appearance -- and first since serving 18 months for his role in a dogfighting operation.

"This one feels great due to the fact that I've been through so much and trained to getting back to this position," he said after the NFC opened practice Wednesday. "It's paramount for me and my family and I'm just thankful."

After starting the year as a backup to Kevin Kolb, the 30-year-old Vick is coming off the best season of his career, leading the Eagles to an NFC East title.

"I'm enjoying the guys and I'm enjoying being out here playing football," he said. "This is what you work for. You work hard to get in this position. I'm ecstatic to be here."

Vick was selected to start Sunday after leading the NFC with more than 1.5 million votes, far ahead of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, the NFC's second-leading vote-getter at 948,410.

"I'm going to try to put on a great show for the fans," Vick said.

In the past, Vick's running is largely what got him into the Pro Bowl. He takes satisfaction that his passing was better than it has ever been this season.

"I feel like this one, I had to work hard to get it," he said. "It came in a different fashion. I displayed different talents this year and showed really what I could do in the passing game along with doing everything else. Everything just came together and it worked out for me."

Vick set career highs in yards passing (3,018), touchdown passes (21), touchdowns rushing (nine), completion percentage (62.6) and passer rating (100.2). The Eagles (10-6) were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by Green Bay.


Rodgers defends Cutler

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Before the Green Bay Packers really start cramming to get ready for the Super Bowl, Aaron Rodgers wanted to make a few things clear.

First, Rodgers says he didn't sustain a concussion on a helmet-to-helmet hit from Chicago Bears lineman Julius Peppers in Sunday's NFC championship game victory. He believes his new helmet may have helped prevent another head injury.

And while he's speaking on the subject of injuries, Rodgers has heard people questioning the toughness of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler this week and thinks it's "very inappropriate" and "disrespectful."

"I was real disappointed, to be honest with you," Rodgers said Wednesday. "I've known Jay for a few years now and know what kind of competitor he is. I thought it was disrespectful, some of the stuff said about him."

Cutler was criticized by current and former players, fans and media members after leaving Sunday's NFC championship game with a knee injury.

"To attack a guy's toughness, when you're not playing in the game especially, I thought was very inappropriate," Rodgers said.


Goodell: $1 if stoppage

NEW YORK -- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will cut his salary to $1 if there is a work stoppage after the collective bargaining agreement expires in March.

Goodell, who makes about $10 million a year including bonuses, said in a memo to his staff that chief negotiator Jeff Pash (nearly $5 million salary) will do the same.

Goodell also has asked the league's compensation committee to delay any bonus payments to him until after a deal is reached with the NFL Players Association.

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